Buttercream Frosting Recipe – Easy & Delicious!

A good cupcake or cake is nothing without a wonderful Buttercream Frosting Recipe on top!  Be the star of every party when you use this simple but delicious buttercream recipe for your next cake. 

The star of the show is always the dessert.  Why not make it even better by using the best recipe for icing that includes only 4 simple ingredients? Buttercream frosting, buttercream icing, cake frosting, or even cupcake icing, whatever you call it, it’s sure to be a staple for all of your upcoming desserts!White buttercream frosting and bright rainbow sprinkles

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

One of the easiest ways to dress up a cake mix is to add your own homemade frosting to the top.  A good quality buttercream will be the base of many fun decorations you may want to take on for your desserts.  The recipe below is a tried and true simple recipe that anyone can make in just a few minutes.

This recipe is one of the first bakers will learn in the kitchen.  It is used to top cakes and cupcakes, secure layers of cakes, and even to go between cookies as a filling.  There is no limit to how you can utilize a good quality buttercream frosting recipe. Overhead view of white buttercream frosting recipe and chocolate cupcakes

How Do I Make Buttercream Smooth?

Probably the most searched question when someone is going to make frosting is to ask how to make it smooth and creamy.  We all know how yucky frosting looks and tastes when it is either lumpy or separated.  These tips will make sure your frosting recipe turns out perfectly.Steps to making the best buttercream frosting

  • Never heat butter to soften. Always allow it to soften naturally by sitting out on the counter for at least 30 minutes prior to mixing
  • Sift your powdered sugar before incorporating with the butter to remove all lumps
  • If using a stand or hand mixer, only cream until just combined. Do not over beat the butter and sugar combination.
  • Fold in the whipping cream gently until just combined

Buttercream frosting closeup

Can I Add Different Flavors to This Buttercream Frosting?

Of course, you can!  The joy of making a homemade icing for your cakes and cupcakes is you can fine tune the flavor to your preferences.  This recipe calls for vanilla extract, but you can easily add in almond, lemon, bubblegum, mint, etc instead to give your frosting just the flavor you want.

Work with complementary flavors to find the right combination for your cake or cupcakes.  Lemon works great with vanilla or yellow cake, as well as lemon cake.  Bubblegum is a great flavor for kids parties and pink food coloring.  Use your imagination as the combinations are endless.

You can then combine the different colors in a piping bag and create swirls like we do in our Mardi Gras Cupcakes or Galaxy Cupcakes!Pink buttercream icing with rainbow sprinkles

How do I Add Color to My Frosting?

Coloring your frosting can be just as much fun as playing with flavor additions!  One thing we always suggest is to start with a test amount first to find the right color rather than adding food coloring to the entire batch at once.

When coloring frosting, separate the prepared frosting into different bowls for each color.  Use food coloring drops, or our preferred gel food coloring, in small increments until you reach the desired shade.  Don’t be afraid to mix colors to build a different blend color not found in the food dyes. Buttercream colors tend to darken as they sit so a little goes a LONG way!

Note: For natural dye due to allergy issues, you can utilize various natural dye like beetroot, spinach, and even fruits.  Again, have fun and start with small batches to find what works best for your needs.Overhead view of buttercream frosting in shades of pink

Tips for Safely Storing Buttercream Frosting

Sometimes it is best to prepare your frosting in advance if you have a busy schedule the week of your event.  If this is the case, feel free to make your buttercream and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days prior to use. 

If you need even more advance time, you can easily freeze in an airtight labeled container for up to 3 months.  Simply place in your refrigerator overnight to thaw before needed. 

Bonus Tip:  If it seems to thick after freezing, feel free to use a bit of extra whipping cream or milk to soften up.  Start in tablespoon increments so as to not change the consistency drastically.White buttercream frosting recipe and chocolate cupcakes

Great Cupcake Recipes for this Frosting

Of course, once you have this recipe for frosting prepared, you need a great cake or cupcakes for it to be used on as a topping.  We love our Vanilla Cupcake from Scratch and Chocolate Cupcake recipe as it works for almost any party need.  You can also check out how it can be dressed up and dyed for things like the Emoji Cupcakes, or even these fun Mardi Gras Swirl Cupcakes.

Top with your favorite sprinkle mix for a truly unique dessert!

Yield: Frosting for 24 Cupcakes

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

A good cupcake or cake is nothing without a wonderful Buttercream Frosting Recipe on top! Be the star of every party when you use this simple but delicious buttercream recipe for your next cake.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract


  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy and smooth
  2. Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl - this step is optional, although it makes the frosting
    smooth and easier to mix
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with heavy cream
  4. Add vanilla extract and beat well
  5. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Let come to room temperature
    before using


  • Using clear vanilla extract will keep the buttercream super white. You can also use regular vanilla extract.
  • Depending on consistency, add more powdered sugar or more heavy whipping cream
  • Using heavy whipping cream will give the frosting a stiffness that is great for decorating, however, you can also use milk instead of the cream.

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